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One Art

One Art

by Elizabeth Bishop

Stanza IV Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 10-12

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master
.

  • This is where it gets personal. The speaker brings in some things that she’s lost that are obviously of some emotional significance to her: her "mother’s watch" (4.10) is probably more than just a watch (we wonder if the mother is dead, or otherwise distant from the poet), while the house that she loved was surely full of many personal associations and memories.
  • Though the speaker reassures us again at the end of the stanza that "the art of losing isn’t hard to master" (4.12), we’re not sure how much we believe her this time.

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